Berto Jongman: Harvard to Journal Publishers – Piss Off! Open Access Here We Come…

04 Education, Access, Commerce, Corruption
Berto Jongman
Berto Jongman

Harvard University says it can’t afford journal publishers’ prices

University wants scientists to make their research open access and resign from publications that keep articles behind paywalls

Exasperated by rising subscription costs charged by academic publishers, Harvard University has encouraged its faculty members to make their research freely available through open access journals and to resign from publications that keep articles behind paywalls.

A memo from Harvard Library to the university’s 2,100 teaching and research staff called for action after warning it could no longer afford the price hikes imposed by many large journal publishers, which bill the library around $3.5m a year.

The extraordinary move thrusts one of the world’s wealthiest and most prestigious institutions into the centre of an increasingly fraught debate over access to the results of academic research, much of which is funded by the taxpayer.

The outcome of Harvard’s decision to take on the publishers will be watched closely by major universities around the world and is likely to prompt others to follow suit.

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Phi Beta Iota: There are larger problems beyond the unsustainability of the present publishing model. First among these are the citation cabals and the ineptitude of most academics at the necessary mix of citation analytics and exploration for relevant materials not published in the traditional journals; second is the fact that Google, by its own admission, indexes less than 0.04% of the web, while others have documented that only 1% of all written scientific papers actually get published. Add to that the mediocrity of most educational institutions, most of them not at all serious about multidisciplinary education or research and none of them actually thinking about holistic analytics and true cost economics, and you have an empty shell — a Potemkin village. Education, intelligence (decision-support) and research have all collapsed, and they underlay, along with the loss of integrity across the board, the financial, commercial, political, social, and cultural collapse now being inflicted on the West by “leaders” who are beneath contempt — all in betrayal of the public trust.

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